This year, we changed our base of operations in India to the small town of Kachhwa in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Kachhwa is located an hour west of the sacred city of Varanasi on the Ganges River. The town has a population of about 20,000 and a small hospital. Kachhwa is surrounded literally by 10,000 villages. Many of them are the poorest Dalit (Untouchable) villages.
We're making final preparations to continue our work in three of those Dalit villages in March. How did we decide which ones? A mix of geographic data science and the human touch:
We used location-based analysis of available data about demographics, economics, and public health outreach by our partners who are already on the ground in Kachhwa. They have decades of experience delivering human health and social services to women and families in the surrounding villages. These services include water wells and toilets, literacy and domestic skills training, medical clinics and dairy Self-Help Groups.
Data is useful. But in the end, we relied most on the Kachhwa team's experience with women and families, language, and cultural sensitivity that cannot be captured in data. We're fortunate to be working with these professionals who understand the One Health approach to human and animal health, and who value the contribution that Mere Saathi can make to improve the lives of village women and their families.
Our 2018 project in Uttar Pradesh, India, is 80% funded. You can be part of our story.